Joseph Amiano of Lincoln Parish said he wanted to set a new swimming record this year, and he did. The University View Academy fifth-grader broke the Louisiana 50-yard freestyle boys ten and under mark set in 1988 by Tommy Sims, Jr. Joseph broke the record with a time of 26 seconds. That’s .16 seconds or two blinks of an eye faster. “As soon as I turned ten years old, I wanted that record,” he stated. His mom, Ashley Frederick, said it was almost a given that he would succeed. “It’s always been different for him. People said he was fast,” she declared.
He swims for the Bulldogs Aquatic Club in Ruston, and he’s in the pool training two-and-a-half hours a day, six days a week. That doesn’t include travel time to practice or out-of-town meets. Joseph said he couldn’t devote the time to swimming while enrolled in a brick-and-mortar school. His parents looked for an option and found University View Academy. Joseph’s mom said she was impressed with the adaptability and individual instruction in the online environment. “UVA really gives plenty of flexibility. This has been a dream,” she said excitedly. Joseph said he also likes the support he gets from his teachers as he pursues his sport. “My ELA teacher, Mrs. Farrah Bunch, roots me on, he offered.
Joseph said he has his eye on setting new records while swimming in the eleven and 12 age group since he just had his birthday. He stated his pie in the sky goal is to reach the Sectional and National Meets but is resigned he may not. “Nationals and Sectionals are really not for eleven-year-olds. They’re meant for 13-to-18-year-olds,” he explained. “My teammates, my coaches, that’s what really motivates me… and they push me harder and harder every day,” Joseph said. His teammates are older, but Joseph explained he gets no special treatment because of his age. His mom marveled, “He can’t be out of the water. It takes incredible endurance and grit. I don’t see how they do it.”
Joseph said he wants to swim at the college level, and LSU is his first choice, but he mentioned the University of Texas in the same sentence. In the meantime, he’ll swim races in his new 11 to 12 age group, like at the recent state swimming meet in Baton Rouge. His best finish was third in the 50-yard freestyle of his six events. His mother said she is prideful of his swimming feats and what the sport has taught him. “The kid is unbelievable,” she exclaimed. “But I’m more proud of him as a person, an athlete, and he’s everybody’s cheerleader.” His closest friends swim with younger teams, and Joseph spurs them on. “That speaks volumes to me,” his mother shared.